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McRoberts, Duke hold off Boston College, snap four-game skid

Feb 15, 2007 - 6:09 AM CHESTNUT HILL, Massachusetts (Ticker) -- Josh McRoberts and Duke will take a win any way they can get it.

McRoberts had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Greg Paulus added 15 and seven assists as the Blue Devils nearly blew a 24-point second-half lead but held on for a 78-70 victory over 21st-ranked Boston College.

DeMarcus Nelson scored 15 points for Duke (19-7, 6-6 ACC), which snapped its first four-game losing streak since the 1994-95 season when Pete Gaudet served as interim coach. The Blue Devils never have lost five consecutive games under coach Mike Krzyzewski.

"I wasn't thinking that we were going to lose this game just because we had lost four in a row," McRoberts said. "You can't think like that. Winning was the only thing that crossed my mind."

Unranked for the first time in 10 years and coming off defeats against its two chief rivals, North Carolina and Maryland, Duke snapped out of its funk on Wednesday but not without some adversity.

"The same thing happened last year," Paulus said. "Hey, they're a good team. Give them credit. We knew they were going to make a run at some point. We just had to find a way to weather the storm. We just played defense. We were able to get a couple of ones in transition and getting those types of plays helped us take the crowd out of the game."

Leading, 65-41, with just over 11 minutes left in the second half, the Blue Devils let the Eagles right back into the game. In a 10-minute span, Boston College outscored Duke, 29-11, to cut the lead to 76-70 with 1:08 left.

On the ensuing possession, however, the Eagles decided not to foul, costing them precious time, and they would not recover.

The Blue Devils ran the shot clock down and freshman swingman Gerald Henderson converted on an acrobatic layup over the outstretched arms of 6-10 center John Oates to make it 78-70 with 36 seconds left - the game's final points.

McRoberts carried his team for most of the game, shooting 9-of-13 from the field and dominating the glass.

"I thought he asserted himself more tonight," Krzyzewski said. "That goes back to the second half of the Maryland game where he had a good stretch, getting us six straight points. I thought he got better vs. them, and tonight he really asserted himself."

"They had so many easy buckets," Eagles forward Jared Dudley said. "I don't know how many we had. McRoberts was getting lobs wide open, they were cutting through the zone getting dunks. That's the game right there."

Paulus was an efficient 6-of-9 from the floor, including 2-of-5 from the arc, for Duke, which shot 56 percent (33-of-59).

Sean Marshall scored 23 points and Tyrese Rice added 22 for the Eagles (18-7, 9-3), who shot 54 percent (21-of-39). However, the Eagles' go-to scorer, Dudley scored just 11 points and took only five shots.

"They weren't going to give him a lot of good looks," Dudley said. "Every time (Dudley) got the ball they were running two to three guys at him, and we have to make adjustments. We will have to do a better job."

"With Dudley, you try not to give him open threes in transition," Krzyzewski said. "Inside, the main thing is not to react to his ball-fakes and then you have to keep him off the offensive boards."